How to face the Challenges of coming out of Lockdown for Family Photographers

With the ease of lockdown, and the summer beginning, family photographers like you, are now being able to re-open their books to clients. Which is a hugely positive step for photographers. But with the excitement comes new social distancing guidelines and questions about the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of re-launching your business in the new ‘normal’ world of family photography.

It’s a time when we all need to re-think our business models as the new  post pandemic business world emerges. So if you’re about to relaunch your family photography business, here are a few helpful suggestions to get you going.

Smart Marketing – Film.

No doubt you’ll be investing time thinking about how to market your business. Your website being your all important ‘shop window’ so you’ll need to make sure it stand out. How you market can mean the difference between gaining or loosing a client and great content can add huge value to your business. People connect with people. So having a behind the scenes film is a smart business move as it allows you to share your story and the value of your brand.

A film allows you to deliver the right message and build that all important connection with your audience. Film builds trust with your clients. Allowing you to connect with them on a personal level, making you and your business relatable and approachable. Film is also a great way to improve your SEO. Google loves films! Why? Because Google recognises how long visitors are on your site and signals to Google your website has great content.

The power of a Testimonial

I don’t know about you, but when I’m on a website I only skim read the testimonials. They have very little impact on me and I much prefer to see an image. If you really want to reach out to your ideal client a filmed testimonial is a very powerful way of endorsing what you do. If your audience can hear from a previous client about your business, this is much more likely to lead to people reaching out to you.  As we moved into lockdown all those weeks ago, I decided to create a film getting my children (my harshest critics!) to answer the question “Is you mum a good photographer?”. The reach was amazing and I’ve had lots of engagement on this film since!

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If making a film for your website just seems too daunting, then I’m here to help. I can create films for your website. Behind the scenes, interviews with clients and plenty more besides! For more details of how I can help you create a film for your business, just click this link https://www.belindagrantphotography.co.uk/film/

Refresh your website

It’s so important to make sure you have a great website. And as I’ve been told many times ‘content is king’! So make sure your website is not only up to date with examples of your family photography work, but also that the content is relevant and boosts your SEO.

Informing your clients how you’re able to offer family photography shoots within the new social distancing guidelines is a great way to show your clients that you’re still open for business. And also that you’re working safely so that families can still go ahead with a family photo shoot.

If you feel it’s time to have your website overhauled it’s important to get the support from a web designer who understands the photography world and what is needed for a great website. I use Andy Smith-Dane from Aperture Design https://www.aperturedesign.co.uk/ . Andy is a great person to have on board with anything web related and offers design, hosting, training and maintenance.

Social Media

It’s always tempting to try to market yourself across all media platforms in the hope that you’ll reach a larger audience. But what I’ve learnt is that it’s much better to focus on one platform. How do you choose? Review the engagement you’ve had from each of your accounts during the last 3 months and the 3 months before that. What engagement have you had from each platform? How much business have you had from each platform? Which platform do you have a preference to use?

I know myself that my commercial work comes from Instagram whereas my family photography work has more engagement from Facebook. You’ll find your time is better spent if you focus on whichever platform gives you the most engagement so concentrate on using this to market yourself to which ever is best for you.

Get out there and Shoot!

When you do get that first booking, you may find you’ve lost your confidence. It’s a bit like having first time shoot nerves all over again! But there’s plenty you can do to ease yourself back into it. With the summer just appearing there are some great locations. And as I recently heard from a very successful photographer, it’s better to be out there shooting than your camera gathering dust on the shelf.

What you can do is ask a friend and their family to model for you. Offer them the images in return and this will take the pressure off you when you’re on the shoot and ask them to share the photos to their friends on social media.

This is a great way to build your confidence back up again and get some marketing too. Oh, and you also get to see a friend for a good catch up in the gorgeous outdoors!

Talk to other Photographers

As much as other family photographers can be seen as your competition, now is the time we all need support. Joining groups and sharing your experience of a re-launch of your business can be hugely beneficial. Sharing ideas and opening discussions about your concerns can really help. Don’t think you’re alone. There are plenty of family photographers out there wondering just how they’re business is going to survive after being put on hold for the last few months.

There has been a HUGE amount of support offered from photography trainers. Nina Mace https://www.ninamacephotography.com/ offers mentoring and workshops. She also has a Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ninamacegroupforprofessionals/ where she has several excellent videos which she put together during lockdown. Particularly helpful is ‘How to make your Photography Business Thrive’ which delves deep into how to get your business back up and running after lockdown https://www.facebook.com/groups/ninamacegroupforprofessionals/.

And whilst you’re possibly trying to balance all the commitments you may have at home with getting your business out there again, pop your headphones on and listen to a podcast or two with the brilliant Vicki Knights and Eddi Judd from Shoot Edit Chat Repeat.

They’re both super talented photographers, really fun and uplifting AND have an amazing rapport between them! They’ve interviewed some really inspirational photographers who discuss all that’s good and bad in the photography industry whilst Eddie and Vicki ask all those questions that are running around in your head! Tune in at: https://shooteditchatrepeat.com/episodes/

Support your local Community

Look around in your local community for other independent business owners like yourself who may be facing similar challenges. As small business owners, we all need to support each other and now is a great time to make those connections with the community around you.

I know that a local photographer to me has reached out to her local village high street and is now offering headshots to all the businesses in the town. A great idea to get yourself out there again and explore diversifying your business.

Be Kind to Yourself!

I understand that your business is probably not where you were expecting it to be in June 2020. Any business plan you may have made at the end of last year you may have shredded by now! And I don’t blame you. But now we have to put our ‘glass half full’ hats on and see this a great opportunity .

Yes there will be challenges and frustrations but you will come out the other side. So during this time of change be kind to yourself. Be realistic in what you can achieve each day. If you’re home schooling children, juggling households and finances, give yourself a break. Make sure you give yourself time away from your business and other commitments.

Do what makes you happy. Yoga, music, walking, a bottle of something lovely, or just being quiet for a while. The challenges will still be there but you’ve got an opportunity now to make this work. Re-write your business plan and let’s see where you are in June 2021!